Category Archives: grain-free

Cevapi with Quick Pickled Onions

Recently, my office just did something we hadn’t done in three years–have a potluck lunch together.

Because the World Cup was on, we made that our theme. We wrote out the names of the 24 countries that made the cut on slips of paper and then passed around a bowl for people to choose a slip from. My slip read “Serbia” and I knew immediately that I would make a version of cevapi, their spiced meat sausages.

I read lots of recipes, and settled on the flavour profile of this one. I used beef and lamb, with a ratio of about 2:1 beef to lamb. However, I did not add mint, onion, eggs, bread or water to the mix. I did add chopped parsley, lots of freshly ground black pepper, lots of chopped fresh garlic, salt and dried oregano, cumin and coriander. I also added some baking soda, which showed up in several recipes I read, like these ones. I made a large batch of the meat mixture and used about half of it for the potluck, storing the rest of it the freezer.

I don’t have a barbecue, so I baked them in the oven for half an hour at 350 C with a sheet of parchment paper under them, and they turned out quite nicely.

I made these quick pickled onions to go with them. I followed the recipe, except I used sugar as the sweetener and heated the liquid in the microwave.

Both the sausages and the onions turned out well and they went beautifully together. The baking soda gives them a springy texture and helps them hold together. I made up the rest of the mixture and ate those with tzatziki and the onions. Absolutely delicious.

These would work well as an appetizer or a main meal. I love the idea of having some of these handy in the freezer. I will definitely be making these again soon.

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Horseradish Mayo

I love mayo on hot, crisp French fries. Even better is mayo with a bit of zip. I had some leftover steak from a dinner out, so I decided I needed to have steak frites at home. So for dinner I had cold, beautifully cooked steak with hot fries and tangy mango, and some red wine on the side. A feast!

This is one of my favourite versions of horseradish mayo. My take on it is bursting with flavour, but the beauty of customizing your own mayo is that you can easily adjust it to your personal taste. If you find this too strong, dilute it by adding more mayo. I use 3 tablespoons prepared horseradish, 1 tablespoon grainy mustard, and 2 ½ tablespoons lemon juice to 1 cup mayo. (I actually prefer Miracle Whip, but YMMV).

A little goes a long way. I used it for fries, but it would be great on a fried egg sandwich or a burger, as well.

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Fried Plantains

I was on vacation in the Caribbean recently and had a ton of delicious food while I was there. One of my fondest memories is of dinner at a rib shack that included your choice of any three sides with an order of ribs. I chose coleslaw, beans and rice, and plantains. Ever since, I have been thinking about eating plantains again.

I bought a couple of green plantains about two weeks ago and have been patiently waiting until the skins turned black enough for me to fry them.

I made these today, as a side for spicy shrimp and rice. I used this recipe as a guide. I fried them in a stovetop wok in a mix of butter and oil. As they turned brown, I removed them to a plate lined with paper towel to drain. I generously salted them, and then I got to try them.

They were fantastic hot. I am taking some for lunch tomorrow, and will eat those ones cold. They were so tasty and so easy to make. I will definitely be making these again soon.

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Figgy Pudding: We won’t go until we get some!

I have been rereading Kerry Greenwood’s Phryne Fisher novels. I recently started Murder in the Dark, which is set in the Christmas season, and got to a chapter which starts with an epigraph about figgy pudding from “We Wish You a Merry Christmas.” The obsessive part of my brain kicked in, and I started researching figgy pudding recipes.

I like desserts with dark flavours. I love all things featuring mincemeat, love dark fruitcake, and am passionate about sticky toffee pudding (note to self: blog about STP sometime soon…). So, as I read the recipes, I felt that figgy pudding was right up my street. The recipes featured dates, raisins and figs. As I read on I realized that I actually had copious amounts of all of these dried fruits in my pantry. I also had a large amount of orange juice that needed to be used up, and I had been looking for a way to use it in baking.

This happy confluence led to me trying this recipe. Well, using it as a starting point. I love how she bakes it in individual ramekins. My batter ended up being quite large, so I baked it in a loaf pan. Other changes I made: I added more raisins, so some were in the pureed date and fig mixture and some were left whole; I used orange juice instead of water; I soaked the dried fruits in the orange juice for half an hour before I started cooking (and soaked the raisins that remained whole in more orange juice); I used white sugar instead of honey; and when I took it out of the oven, I spooned more orange juice over the warm cake.

It is delicious and fruity. There is a subtle cinnamon flavour that comes through as well. I had some heavy cream that needed using too, so I just poured some of that over the warm pudding.

The texture is lovely. It is tender and moist. It is a fantastic use of coconut flour, which is such a good binder.

I would happily serve this as a dessert. It is very comforting and perfect for when the weather is frigid. I plan to freeze some portions so I can enjoy it later. Maybe for breakfast. Maybe with custard. Or maybe with whipped cream… So I have lots to look forward to.

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Radish and Cheese Spread (with Fries)

When I was a kid, I loved a sandwich spread my mom used to make: grated radishes and cheddar cheese, with a bit of mayo to hold it together. I ate it as a sandwich filling, on toast and on crackers.

Now that I avoid bread products, I had been trying to come up with new ways to eat it. I think it would be lovely on a bed of lightly dressed greens. And it might be quite good blended with grated cabbage.

But, as I am always working on my quest to find new french fry toppings, it occurred to me that this spread might be fantastic on fries. The scientist in me demanded that I try it, and I can report that it was in fact fantastic. The radish and cheese mixture was nicely chilled, and it made a great contrast with the hot fries. I did four layers: fries, radish spread, fries, radish spread. It was really good and I highly recommend it.

How to make the spread: Grate equal parts of red radishes and old cheddar. Moisten as much as you like with mayonnaise or miracle whip. Add salt and pepper to taste. And that’s it. Enjoy it with the substrate of your choice.

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Fried Onions, Pickled Eggplant and Banana Peppers with Cheese on French Fries

Some time ago, I bought a large jar of pickled eggplant. I like eggplant and was curious what the pickled version would be like. I had no idea how to use it, though, so I googled it. Of course, most of the answers involved bread products (sandwiches, crusty bread). And while I do use bought bread products occasionally, I try not to eat them too frequently.

I am also attempting to systematically use up items in my pantry. So that meant coming up with a non-bread way to use my eggplant. I like the idea of using it in a red Thai curry, and I like the idea of using it with pasta. I plan to try those later.

Yesterday, I decided to use it in a topping for french fries. I sliced up three small onions and fried them until they were just starting to turn golden. I added in about 1/4 cup each of pickled eggplant and pickled banana peppers. I put some fries in the oven to bake and let the onions, eggplant and peppers continue to cook together on medium low, and grated some old cheddar.

When the fries were done, I laid out a base layer on a plate. I added a layer of grated cheese, and then all of the onion topping. I added another layer of cheese and then placed the plate back in the hot oven for about five minutes to let the cheese melt.

The combination of flavours in the topping is fantastic. Cooking the vegetables together on the stove let the heat from the pickles infuse throughout the mixture. It was sweet, tangy and spicy. The acidity cut through the richness of the cheese nicely.

I think the combination would work well as a non-fry topping as well, either hot or cold. I am going to experiment with that next. It would be great to come up with an interesting vegan side dish. After all, I have a 750 mL jar of pickled eggplant to get through…

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Potato-Parsnip Rosti

Sometimes I get obsessed with a recipe and cannot stop thinking about it until I have bought the ingredients. I saw this lovely rosti recipe earlier this week and instantly my brain was filled with thoughts of toasted parsnips and potatoes. The recipe suggests serving it with sour cream laced with caramelized onions, both of which are staples in my diet, so it seemed like a no-brainer.

I made the rosti (with grated potatoes and parsnips and finely sliced onions) in my cast iron pan. When it was fresh, I topped a slab of it with two sunny-side-up eggs, and it was glorious.

Today, I am enjoying leftovers. I sliced the cold rosti, heated it in the microwave and ate it smeared with the caramelized onion sour cream. Bliss. A comforting dish to help you fight the dark days of late December.

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Omelette with Mushrooms, Caramelized Onions and Cheese

I just made this omelette and it was incredibly tasty. Its execution was far from technically perfect (I should have used a different pan), but my mouth couldn’t tell the difference.

I had some leftover mushrooms that had been fried in butter with garlic, salt and pepper and some leftover caramelized onions. I also had already grated pecorino romano, so with very little effort today, I got to both gain fridge space and eat a fantastic breakfast. Win-win.

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Kofta Kebabs

Another delicious meal! I made kofta kebabs earlier this week and they tasted amazing. Here they are paired with Greek potatoes (cooked slowly in a bath of broth, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and oregano) and store-bought dips—tzatziki and baba ganoush. What a feast!

The kebabs were easy to make. I used half ground beef and half ground lamb, plus salt and pepper. I added some finely chopped parsley and finely chopped onion. The onion was supposed to be grated, but I wasn’t in my own kitchen and had no grater, so I just chopped it as finely as I could. I think grated onion would give a better texture, but the flavour was still fantastic. I kept the flavourings simple this time–many kebab recipes also include cumin, coriander and other spices in addition to the black pepper. And instead of bread crumbs, I added a bunch of potato starch to help bind the meat mixture together.

We cooked them on skewers on a barbecue and had enough leftovers for a few more meals. They were pretty fast to put together, and I imagine they would still be pretty delicious cooked in the oven.

There are still a few left in the fridge. Maybe that’s what I’ll have for breakfast today…

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Pepperoni Pizza!

I had been craving pepperoni pizza for a while now, but could never find gluten-free pepperoni when I remembered to look for it. Then I finally found some made by Piller’s. I used it to make this pepperoni, jalapeno and onion pizza.

To make it, I used the crust recipe I have been using for a few years now. I usually make it without the addition of the tiny amount of Parmesan as I tend to put generous amounts of cheese on top. It’s really fast to make, and it uses tapioca flour and coconut flour, so it’s grain free. The crust ends up being nice and thin–I roll it out between two sheets of parchment paper. It is delicate, and I leave it on the lower piece of parchment paper for baking. But if you are light on the sauce, the crust stays crisp enough that you can eat the pizza by hand.

This one was fantastic, of course, and let me have leftover pizza for breakfast. I highly recommend this crust to anyone looking for a yeast-free, gluten-free option to make at home.

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